Thursday, December 10, 2009

Trapped in a Winter Wonderland

Yesterday we got some nice snow from the big storm that went across the country.  Not as much as some and much of it was gone by the end of the day since it warmed up and rained.  But still it was nice to finally have some snow.  Before clearing the walks, I decided to get some shots of the house decked out in our holiday lights.  Duncan poked his head into the window to wave and say hi.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope to get moving again very soon on things.

Best wishes and happy holidays.

Monday, September 14, 2009


"Movin to the country gonna eat a lot of peaches
Im movin to the country Im gonna eat me a lot of peaches"

Last Sunday, I decided to enjoy the sunny morning by going for a walk around town. It was that kind of crisp sunny blue sky kind of morning that always seems to signal the start of fall. Since it was such a mild summer, it seems like fall is already on its way, which I guess it is up here in the north. As I wandered around town, I happened upon this pile of peaches slowly rotting away on someone's porch. Why are they there? Who left them? Why didn't they eat them?

Sometimes for me photography captures not the answer but the question.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cayuga Shells

We did a bit of traveling around the local area this weekend, being tourists in our own locale. On Saturday we all went over to Taughannock Falls for the first time, which was a great location. Unfortunately a poor day for pictures there but still a beautiful set of falls which I intend to visit much more often now. Afterwards, we decided to head back home but since the kids still seemed to have some energy (even after a goodly hike), I took everyone to the Long Point State Park just south of Aurora. The park is great because it is right on the water and has a nice big playground. Rowan collected a handful of small snail shells along the lakeshore, which she handed to me for safe keeping. As we watched the kids play, I pulled these shells out of my pocket and set them on the old picnic table at which we were sitting. After a few minutes, I started to notice the light play across the shells as the breeze caused the branches to slowly move the area of shade around. That is when I started to experiment with taking different images. I played with the light and the shadows, the focus and orientation, angle of view and depth of field. In only a few short minutes I had a very fulfilling time just finding images and things of interest with these shells and the old picnic table.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Knight Fight at Sterling Renaissance Festival

This weekend we took the kids and meet some friends at the Sterling Renaissance Festival in Sterling, NY. We had not been to this festival before though we had attended the one in Maryland for over 13 years in a row. We always have a fun time. This year was extra fun because now the kids were old enough to enjoy it more too. Given that both of their parents are medievalists, it is no surprise that our kids love medieval stuff. One thing that we knew we had to see was the jousting. After a number of very nice passes with lances it became a bit more like watching wrestling only medieval style. The series of images here was from near the end of the melee, and I think they speak a bit for themselves - opening a can of whoopass medieval style.

Thanks for stopping by. I know this blog has been quiet of late. I have been super busy and have not even had much chance to get out shooting. Sterling was the first big shoot in almost a month and I hope I got others from here that I can share.

Best wishes.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Field of Future Fuel

Not much to say on this one. I have versions where the barn is in focus too but I liked this best I think.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Great Grandma's Embrace

On our recent trip to MI, my grandmother managed to corral my son into her arms for an extended hug and some quiet time. He lasted about one minute and then was off like a bullet. But it is a tender minute, and I am very glad I was able to capture it.

From a photographic prospective, there is a good bit going on that I really liked. First of all the expressions, for something like this having them look directly into the camera is not really the mood I was looking to convey. To me this is more of a quiet moment together captured without thought about the camera. In some later frames, he gets a toothy grin, and I think that breaks the mood. I like the leading lines of his arms which bring you right up into their faces. Their hands clasped together. These elements also create an interesting triangle shape (his eyes, her eyes, and their hands together). The symmetry between his yellow gloves and the yellow tint of the bush in the background add a splash of color and pop to the subtle tones of the image. Yellow usually recedes but here it stands out well and does not overwhelm like a red tone would. As for post processing, I lightened their faces a bit to bring them out just a bit. I also used a set of Lightroom presets (Focus Beauty) to blur and darken the edges. These together I thought helped pull in the focus onto their faces.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stone Wreath of Lickville

As you likely already know, I find cemeteries interesting places. There is such history there and a special sort of connection. While out roaming around last weekend, and after visiting Millard Fillmore's (13th President of the USA) birthplace, I decided to swing by a cemetery that was noted on the map and was close by. I have stopped by a lot of cemeteries in the area over the past few months. One thing that I have noted pretty consistently is the lack of statuary in small cemeteries. Clearly these memorials cost more and for most of the population they were too expensive. But in the small (still in use) Lickville Cemetery, there was one statue. This was a lovely memorial from the late 1800s. I was drawn to the extensive detail on this wreath. The individual flowers combined with years of lichen gave it a certain loveliness.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dawn in the Rain

This weekend I was going to meet up with a friend to go shooting. We had planned to get together early but by Saturday evening we were wimping out a bit so we settled on 7:30. Like clockwork though, my son came bounding into bed at 5:30 on Sunday morning so I decided to get up and head out. It was foggy, raining, dark and not very inspiring. But I thought I would go drive around and see what might be discovered in the rain. In the end, it turned out to be a nice morning. Got some images, spent time hanging out with Pam talking shop and had a nice breakfast.

While out and about I happened upon this view near one of my favorite photo spots. The rain was coming down just a bit and there was finally a touch of color in the sky (this lasted only about 2 minutes and was gone for the day). This is the reason I shoot for HDR most of the time. I love being able to pick up the soft colors in the fog and in the stream and yet also get the boldness of the wet green grass and yellow flowers. This is very close to what I saw.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dunlop Tires at K.C. Rowe's Garage

I was out driving around a few weeks ago as part of my field research on the cemeteries of Cortland county. That afternoon, I decided it was time to head over to McGraw, which is a small town east of Cortland. I had been through McGraw a few other times but had not spent much time exploring. On this afternoon, the light was great as it was past mid afternoon. I looked down a small alley and saw a very cool Sunoco sign painted on the side of what looked to be a garage, so I turned and headed over to check it out. I try to make a point not to miss interesting opportunities.

On the front of what turned out to be K.C. Rowe's Garage, I noticed this very interesting sign for Dunlop Tires. I was really intrigued by the worn, rusty and red sign, the peeling green paint, the two toned stucco wall, and the light streaking in from some windows into the otherwise dark garage. To me all these elements added texture and mystery to the place and the image. I am sure other times of day with the Sun in another spot it would not have been as interesting too me. But the light and shadows from the late afternoon really brought out the elements that were there. I was just lucky enough to be on hand to witness it.

Shifting gears a bit (ok, bad pun), I went out shooting all day this past Saturday for a new local interest magazine that is just getting started, Lakeside Stories Magazine. I am going all the photography for the magazine and had a long list of shots I needed to get. Busy busy day but very rewarding. So I except to have some images from this day o'shooting to post over the next few weeks. Check out the web site, it is still early as we get closer to publication in July things will really start to fill up.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Bells of Quail Hill

One of my personal projects this spring is to investigate the cemeteries of Cortland county. You can follow my progress on my Google map, if you are interested. Over the past month or so, I have compiling a list of all the cemeteries and have been plotting their location as best I can. I've joined the local historical society even. Wow, it has been great to get my history skills honed a bit again (for those who do not know, I am a historian by training). I have also undertaken field research to go out and see these cemeteries. My goal is that part of the SoFoBoMo 2009 project is to create a photographic project focused on these cemeteries. My project will really kick off in a few weeks but I wanted to figure out which ones were photographically interesting before I really got into it. It has also been a great excuse to get out and explore.

This image was taken at the Quail Hill Cemetery and while I had not yet been taking pictures for my project, I really liked how this one turned out. But what really got me on this image was a question. To whom does the Revolutionary War Veteran plaque and flag belong? When I was there checking out the cemetery, I assumed this was for the elder Samuel Bell. But when I processed the image, I realized that they cannot be for him. He would only have been an infant if you do the math based on his headstone. Who whose marker is this?

I am finding out lots of other interesting things:

  • Headstones up until the 1840s are predominately made with a local stone. They have held up really well in most cases. But the fancy white limestones that came into vogue in the 1850s through the rest of the century have not and so it is easier to know more about the older burials than the more recent ones.
  • Epithets went out of vogue in the 1840s when they moved to the white limestones, which is too bad. Many of these are very poignant.
  • Except in the few large cemeteries, there is very little funerary art in these cemeteries.
  • Seems like roughly a quarter to a third of the headstones are for children, and in many cases, multiple children from the same family over a few years time. I am reminded as I look at these markers how absolutely lucky we are to live in a time such as this. I might not mind visiting the past but I would never want to live there.
I'll post more of my explorations in the coming month or so. The SoFoBoMo 2009 project will kick off for me in mid May. Should be a fun exercise and personal project.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cloud Shadows over a Cortland Farm

As I came up and over a hill on South Cortland Virgil Rd., I saw this scene off to the right of the road and down the hill. I screeched to a stop (in a safe spot on the verge) and grabbed my camera. Standing out the driver side, I propped myself up on the door and my seat to get up with a better vantage point. Then I shot a series of images over about five minutes or so as the clouds raced by. I love this kind of weather as the shadows cast by the clouds change quickly and form new and different areas to examine.

Sometimes you just have to stop and look. Don't expect you can come back, especially if you are chasing clouds.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Red Barn in a Spring Snow

One of the interesting things I have found this winter leaving in this area is that snow can be very localized and heavy at times. I went out one morning to meet up with a friend about 20 miles west of Cortland. We had a little dusting of snow at home but as I traveled up and over the hills the snow got deeper quickly. Along the top of one of the ridges, I came across this red barn and had to stop and get some pictures. Just about 2 miles beyond this barn I headed down into a valley. As I headed into the valley, the snow disappeared completely. This is not like going up and over the Rocky Mountains or something. We are only talking about a few hundred feet in elevation but it makes a big difference.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Watch Out for the Woods

I came upon this herd of sheep while wandering the countryside the other week. They were kinds freaking me out because this group of 4 stood in front staring at me, like they were going to run over of start beating me up for taking their picture. The sky was full of clouds so I waited a bit until a cloud covered the woods behind them and made for this dark contrast between white fluffy sheep and dark pointy woods. It gave me a feeling of "big bad wolf" or something, which combined with the menacing sheep, make it even more dark. Well at least to me, but maybe I am just odd that way.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hay Bale Gap in Cayuga County

The other week I went out shooting with a new friend from the area, Amanda. We are looking to work together on a new local interest magazine that is coming out and while I cannot get into many details right now, I am very excited about the opportunity.

On our wanderings around Cayuga county, we went back to a location she had scouted earlier to see if we could get some shots. I really like how this image came together. When we arrived the Sun was hiding behind the clouds, so we found a position we liked along the road and waited. Very quickly the clouds slid by and the sunlight hit the hay bales in the foreground. Within seconds it was gone again behind the clouds. We tried a few other locations up and down the road but in the end, this worked out best. Not only because of the light but for a few other details. When we moved, we ended up with a fence post appearing right in the middle of the gap. So instead of inviting you into the picture and to the barn beyond, the post stops your eye and the feeling of movement. The other element about this location is that the hay bales just touch the edge of the frame, but they are all in. As I moved this changed and other shots had them cut off. While I could have cropped it to touch, that is not as much fun. In the end, I like the feeling of this image.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Plowing Time on South Hill

Wow it has been awhile. A lot going on these days for me but I don't have much time to write about them at the moment. I wanted to get some images up because April has been a very productive month photographically for me. Been getting out a lot, working on a photo project and just enjoying the heck out of photography. I will get ya'll up to speed soon.

This shot is from this weekend (Wally, I know you wanted to see an old tractor). I came across it on South Hill Road out of McGraw on my way to a photowalk in Ithaca. Been looking for some good tractor images and I like this one. I have a few different versions with the tractor being larger or smaller but this seemed to work best for me, at least at the moment.

Thanks for stopping by. More to come very soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Salt Museum on Onondaga Lake

Previously, I thought I was done with posting images from my trip to Onondaga Lake but I this one of the Salt Museum caught my eye. When I first saw the museum, I was looking at it straight on and noticed the way the shadows were raking across the facade. I thought that was interesting so I slowly started to walk over to it in order to explore. I tried a number of different angles but decided I needed my wide-angle lens to get the details I wanted. The stone stairs in front were a neat feature so I tried a few positions to get them in frame with the building. This image is actually from about the half way point in my exploration of the front facade. I kept working in closer and closer ending up with the image of just the door handle.

In this I like how the various elements come together: the shadows, peeling paint, snow, stone, wood, blue sky, etc. They all seem to work together to keep the eye moving through the scene. I think without the stone stairs the image is much more mundane. They provide a needed element here. I debated about applying some perspective correction to keep the building from looking a bit like it is leaning over, but in the end, decided that if I did that I would cut off the stairs and so did not want to do it.

I wanted to say thanks to Jason Moore for his P & P Blogger Profile about me on his excellent blog. Welcome to any of you who may have come through from his site. I would encourage everyone to check his stuff out. And the other cool thing is that he is another local photographer I have gotten to know. Join us for a photowalk in Ithaca on April 18th.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hook 238

I guess it is time to move away from the sentimentality a bit and post a "man's" image. GRRRRR! So I present you a hook and a chain. Iron and rust. Manly elements all. Oh yeah, and I cannot forget to point out the very powerful #238. There is nothing sentimental about this image. I won't even try to tone it down by giving some long winded explanation about it. It's a rusty hook and chain on an old pile driver.

Maybe you will find more in it and care to leave your thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Angel in Stone

Cemeteries are full of mementos from the living. Are those mementos for the dead or are they for the living? Maybe we just want to leave something to show that someone was here to visit their loved one. I am always curious about what people leave behind. In some parts of St Mary's Cemetery, you could easily tell that we had just recently gone through the Christmas holidays. The flowers and other mementos were clearly themed. But other gifts were more timeless, such as this little angel left for a loved one sometime past. Through many seasons, moon rises and storms, this little cherub will stay as a witness that someone came here to visit and remember the person who rests here. I guess the mementos are for both of us the living and the dead.

Image of the day: The World Begins to Freeze

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stone Lily in St. Mary's Cemetery

As I mentioned in my last post, the other week I was in Alexandria, VA for work and decided to spend some time walking around St. Mary's Cemetery and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. St. Mary's is an old cemetery located at the south end of Alexandria nestled right up against the interstate and bridge. It is a Catholic cemetery started back in the late 1700s, though I did not find any graves from that period. Having just finished a book about the symbol and imagery in funerary art, I found it very interesting to now have a much better understanding of what things are and what they mean.

This marker was an obelisk with flowers on each of the four sides. I liked how the lily shown in the sun with the texture of the old worn stone coming through. I decided to really play around with the processing on this image. But I am not going to bore you with those details. For me, I really like the feel of the final image. The soft feeling contrasted with the stony texture. The dark shading contrasted with the bright clear lily. The feeling of sadness mixed with a sense of hope or maybe remembering.

(Where was this taken?)

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Under the Bridge

Last Sunday, I drove down to Alexandria, VA in order to attend a few days of meetings earlier this week. Arriving in town a few hours before I was to meet up with some co-workers for dinner, I decided to have a photo walk in some places I had not been to in a while. I started at St. Mary's Cemetery located along I-95 and then decided to wander around/under the Interstate and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. I had not been down to the bridge since they had opened it all after years of construction.

This image is from under the footpath leading to Jones Point Park. It takes you right beneath the start of the bridge has it heads out over the Potomac River to Maryland. I had my wide angle lens and was playing around with some different perspectives. I really like to expansive feel of this image and the dramatic V shape that was formed. This view is much wider than I could see with my own eyes. The top of the image was actually behind my head.

I ran my typical high dynamic range processing on this image but then decided to play around with it some more. I did not apply any presets to it but did spend time cropping to try to make sure things lined up like I wanted them, such as balancing the V shape in the frame. I also had to clean up a dust bunny on my sensor. I hate it when that happens. I was sure I had cleaned it up ahead of time. Ah well. I then played around with the contrast levels, tones, etc. I was really surprised in looking at the history how much I ended up tweaking to get what I wanted.

My only regret on this is that there was a 7 foot high chain link fence in front of me and so I could not get the whole space from ground to sky. But I guess you just have to work with what you are given and make the best of it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cone Capped Post

Ok, I think I am going to wrap up this set with this image from the marina at Onondaga Lake Park. This was actually one of the last images I took at day. The cone is bright orange and the post was a dull red, which really stood out in the winter landscape. But as I processed the image I felt that the color was just not working. It was too overpowering. I decided to try a black and white conversion and once I did that I noticed that I was really pulled by the shapes, textures and feeling of aloneness. I played around with lightening the post and the cone following the conversion to help bring out the texture that was evident here better. Then I decided to go in and crop a bit more heavily. I like the end result.

Thanks for hanging through with this series.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shadow Handle

At Onondaga Lake Park there is the Salt Museum, which is in an old building down by the lake. As we wandered around the Park, we headed over to the museum. The light was raking across the front of the building. I was drawn to the interplay of light and shadow. This shot is the result of slowing working in on a scene. I started further back with a wide angle lens and took in the whole facade and an interesting set of stone steps. Then I moved in closer just to get the front of the building. Then I moved in on the whole door. Finally, I ended up here with the handle. I liked the curve of the shadow and the contrast between the white peeling paint and the smooth dark shadow. As for processing, this is again a HDR image with some boosts to the contrast.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yellow Hydrant by the Lake

Still another image from my trip with John. When we walked past this hydrant, I was immediately drawn to the color and to the bench. I liked the pop of yellow in an otherwise blue environment (any time you can contrast warm and cool like this it is a good thing). Not much to say today.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pier 22

After Chittenango Falls, John and I drove over to Onondaga Lake Park just north of Syracuse. We had fun wandering around and finding some great things to shoot: cracks in the ice, the Salt Museum, a pile driver. The weather got colder but also sunnier with some blue finally coming through, which was great. Towards the end of our time there, I came across Pier 22 down at the marina. Obviously it was closed for the winter, but I was drawn to it.

For me, there are a number of visual elements that help make this interesting. The verticals of the all posts going back into the distance. I like the repetition but without them all being the same height. I moved around when lining up the shot in order to get the walkway edge starting in the corner and leading in. This gave the added benefit of having the dock's shadow also provide another leading line into the image. The diagonal lines of the yellow police tape and the light colored boards provide another dual repetition of direction and tone. Finally, the two small signs with numbers are both present. The 22 is clear but also between the posts is a sign with 20 on it. I have to admit this was a happy accident. I had not even noticed the other sign until I started reviewing the images. Maybe my subconsious mind saw it and led me to this spot. A little left or right and it would have been behind a post. Weird.

As for processing, there was not too much. This is a three shot HRD image with a bit of tweaking in LR: a touch of cropping, bumping up the contrast, a boost to the yellows and oranges, and a tone down on the blues a bit. Pretty quick actually.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chittenango Falls Valley

Another shot from my sojourn with John Brainard this past weekend around CNY. As I mentioned yesterday, we could not get down into the valley at Chittenango Falls so we wandered around the rim of the falls. This is the view looking down into the valley, and the falls are on the left.

I liked how this HDR image came out. One of the things I noticed while taking a number of shots from this vantage point was the small stump in the bottom right hand corner. I knew it was the thing that would really help anchor the foreground and give the image greater depth. I made sure I got some extras with this in view and sure enough when I reviewed the images later, the only ones to make the grade were those with this little stump in full view.

One other element I used in this image was a preset from Michael Gray's Life in Digital Film. Michael is creating a group of presets for Lightroom that emulate different film types. On this image I used his Fuji Velvia 50 preset, which really gave it a funky and vibrant feel that I was looking for. Velvia was known for oversaturating colors and really giving them a punch, which has really come out here. Many of Michael's presets are freely available on his site but this preset is part of his exclusive Cold Storage Collection for those who contribute to his web site. For $9.99 and the knowledge you are helping a guy give some great presets to the community, you cannot really go wrong. Heartily endorsed.

Image of the Day: Back to the Future Chair

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Frozen in the Rapids

This weekend I managed to get out of the house and go shooting with a local photographer John Brainard. It was great to get out of the house and see some areas I had not been to before. This image is from just above the Chittenango Falls near Cazenovia, NY. Due to the snow and ice, the path down to the valley floor was closed so we could not get any good views of the falls themselves, but I was able to get a few images I was happy with in other areas of the park.

The new monopod and ballhead worked great on this trip. It took some getting used to but once I got in the groove I found it to be very helpful. I was able to shoot a bit slower which meant the water got more pillowy. I was also able to use it as a boom to get some different angles. Nothing great but they were good experiments.

Lastly, I apologize for the lack of posts in February. One of my big projects this month has been to go through my library and geoencode my images. So far I am about 40% of the way through and while I will not be able to encode at least 10-15%, I do hope to be able to get most of them done. I am doing this for a few reasons. 1) I just like maps and data. I know silly but it is true. 2) With my images encoded I can see where I am getting shots on a map and look for patterns, hot spots, interesting trends, etc. and 3) more and more on-line services read the geo data and allow me to plug into a larger community of photographers who are shooting in some of the same locations I am.

Image of the day: No Fishing in the Marina (yes that is me in the background)

Thanks for stopping by.

(check out the Exif Viewer to see where this was taken)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lichtenstein-esque Rainy Sunday

Yesterday, I read a great article on DPS called "Creating Lichtenstein Inspired Portraits From Your Child’s Photograph." I decided to give it a try as I thought the effect was pretty interesting. This above it the result. This is based on my image from September 2008 called Rainy Sunday. I like the effect and learned a good bit about Photoshop and how layers interact while putting this together. I would like to add the line art effect to this but have not yet mastered the pen tool.

Let me know what you think.

Image of the Day: Fire on Ice

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Snow-Covered Town - Redux

I have been reading David Nightingale's (Chromasia) latest tutorial on working with textures. This has been something that I have been interested in for a while but did not really do much with until I went through his stuff. I decided to go back to the image from last week and see if I could make it feel older. I think it had a lot of qualities of an older image, but in this version I decided I wanted to make it look like I had found this picture in the basement ice cupboard (yes, we have one). A picture that was maybe taken back when the house was built in 1914.

To achieve this I added two textures. The first was one that looked like folded paper. This gave the image the sepia tone I was looking for and also added some subtle paper textures and folds. The second texture was of a scratched up piece of glass. This gave the look of something that was damaged and rediscovered.

I like the look that I was able to achieve. It is close to my vision, but I would be interested in what you think about it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Amazon Error - 8 Manfrotto Ball Heads Too Many

Being inspired after reading Rich Legg's article about his new monopod set up, I ordered a new Manfrotto 334B Automatic Monopod and Manfrotto 486RC2 Compact Ball Head with RC2 Rapid Connect System from Amazon. Today a kind of heavy package arrived from Amazon. My initial thought was that this was pretty strange since I knew the ball head was not very big and the monopod would be a long box. So anyway, I opened the box and this is what I found.

A large box labelled 486RC2. OK, cool this was the ball head I ordered. But why so heavy. Was I really going to want to lug this thing around being this heavy?

So I opened the Manfrotto box and found this:

Yes, that is right. 9 individual boxes each containing a ball head. They sent me the 1 Manfrotto ball head box. The box that held the boxes, not the box with the ball head itself. I just about hit the floor. And clearly someone had carefully removed 1 of the ball heads from this box itself. Maybe I will get that missing sibling in the mail next week.

So now I have a box of 9 perfectly new Manfrotto 486RC2 Compact Ball Heads with RC2 Rapid Connect System.

It is like in Monopoly - bank error in your favor, collect $599.92, which is the retail price of the other 8 ball heads that I don't need.

I know what I am going to do. But I am curious what you would do.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow-Covered Town

We had a nice extra coating of fluffy snow last night and then the Sun came out today. It was very pretty around here. I noticed a photographer out in front of our house early this morning taking pictures down the hill to the downtown area. I was quite jealous but I had to get the kids off to school. At lunch we walked down to our baker's for some yummy soup and sandwiches. Again I noticed how nice it all looked, but still I did not take any pictures. Late in the day, I happened to get distracted by the light coming in my office window. Finally, I picked up my camera and took some shots.

When I went up to the attic, I was surprised to find the window without any ice. Usually this winter it has been almost completely covered over, which has been disappointing since the view is pretty nice. I imagine that this view has not changed very much over the nearly 100 years the house has been here. The attic window is probably original and therefore is old and wavy. If you look closely you can see a number of spots where the window added some interesting distortion to the image.

My thoughts on processing this were to 1) run the high dynamic range stuff and then 2) give it an old time feel.

In other news, my camera's "odometer" clicked over today. The last time it did that was 4/1/08, which means that it was a fairly slow year for me. I hope to roll this over again faster than 10 months in 2009.

Image of the day: View from the Past

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ice Spike

One of our recent late afternoons, the Sun broke through the clouds in a brilliant clear way that you only seem to get in winter. I ran through the house looking for various shots to try because I really like the view of downtown Cortland with the hills in the background. The attic window was iced over so I tried our bedroom window. The ice spike was an added bonus and frankly I am not sure I would have taken the shot without it.

Coming from VA, we never had icicles like we get here in CNY. I cannot recall that we ever had them since it just did not stay cold long enough for them to really get going. This winter we have had them all over and some have been quite large. The snow has not yet gotten old for us. We still enjoy it and it really makes for a beautiful view. We had quite a snow today. I finally had to get out there and clear off our driveway (had been only keeping a small part of it clear since we returned from vacation). I spent 30 minutes this morning and an hour this even snowblowing in order to get the driveway and walks clear. Nice exercise and I have to say it was fun. Felt good.

I think I have finally settled on some branding. I got some good feedback on my first attempt and feel this works better for me. This seems to work for me as it ties my interests in photography (shooter) with my years studying medieval history (archer) into something that is different. I really did not want a logo with a camera. Let me know what you think.

Things are crazy at work but I will keep on posting as often as I can.

Image of the day: Freezing Mist

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Metropolitan Block

While in Alexandria back in early January, I had the opportunity to hit one of my favorite spots, the Washington Sailing Marina. This time the tide was out pretty far, so I decided to wander along the shores of the Potomac. I was struck by the vast quantities of old bricks and parts of walls that lay along the shore. Some had very interesting names and other things stamped into them, not like our industrial blank modern bricks. I decided to try to get some shots of these various kinds of bricks. I remember seeing a show about a guy whose passion is collecting old bricks.

As you might have noticed, I am working on some new branding for my site. I think I have settled on this logo and color scheme, but I am still not sure. What are your thoughts on this?

Image of the Day: First Look at Night

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Busy Airspace

Now that we are home, I am getting back into reviewing my images and getting some things posted here. This image was from a solo photowalk I did one afternoon along the Potomac River in Alexandria, VA. I liked the view of the gull looking at me and the triangle he made with the other gull and the airplane. I feel the placement works (other images show them closer, etc), and I like the straight wing of the upper gull to emulate the wings of the plane. I had another shot with the gull's wings bent, but it did not seem to work as well for me. I considered cropping out the gull in the very bottom corner but decided to leave it because I felt it added something. I might change my mind on that though.

As for processing, this is a HDR image but taken from a single photo. I processed it both over and under exposed and then brough them all together. I needed to do this to keep the moving birds and plane frozen. The image is very noisy because of the high ISO needed for the shot but I like it as it gives the image some "crunchiness" to my eye. In post, I used Michael Gray's Lightroom preset Fuji Neopan 1600 Curve. (Michael has been building an incredible library of presets to emulate films. Check out his blog LifeInDigitalFilm.) I really liked the feel of this preset. It really made things pop for me and gave the sky a nice moody feeling, even though it was a partly cloudy blue sky. I then toned the image to give it a bit of blue and added a slight vignette. Oh and I lightened the gull on the post a bit.

Image of the day: Along the Tracks #1 (Chromasia)

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

I just wanted to say howdy and thank you to everyone who has stopped by this past year. I appreciate your support and comments on my images. They have been very helpful.

2008 was a year of great change for me and my family. My wife got a new job. We move to New York. The kids are in a new school. But we are now back on what feels like an even keel so I am looking forward to 2009 with great enthusiasm.

Thanks for stopping by. I should be back to putting some images up in about 1 week or so. I'll explain why then. Best wishes.